Words with Aaron Povoledo
Red Line Technik’s own Ernie Becker spent some time with Canadian driver Aaron Povoledo down at the Long Beach Grand Prix asking him a few question about life and racing in general.
And for those of you who don’t know who he is, here is your opportunity to find out. Currently Povoledo is the pilot for the KPAX Racing Volvo C30 Touring car competing in the SCCA World Challenge Pro Series. KPAX Racing is one of the top teading teams in that series and is considered the benchmark in that series.
But Poveledo is more then just a racing driver. Yes he is fully dedicated to his profession and job, but we wanted to probe deeper into his life. Here is a great opportunity to see Aaron talk about a lot of things in life in general…. and of course will still spoke about racing.
RLT: Aaron – where are you from?
AP: I was born Toronto, Canada (which I’m proud to call home) and I’m currently living in the Orlando, FL area as my home away from home.
RLT: Why Orlando, FL to reside in the USA?
AP: Keeps me close to the racing scene… From Daytona, Sebring, Homestead Raceways – I have 3 major racetracks within a short driving distance.
RLT: I know you’ve driving a lot of racing cars in the past, but know your racing a Volvo C30 in the Speed World Challenge Series in the Tour class. What are your impressions with this car?
AP: My first impressions were “Wow”… we’ve got a winning car platform right outof the box. KPAX Racing and Volvo have built an amazing car.
RLT: So I take it you like it. So what are your challenges you see with the Volvo C30 in this very competitive series?
AP: We are going though some new car blues, but KPAX Racing is a very experienced team and they have a good handle on things. Remember this whole program came together in the middle of January 2011. It’s now mid-April and it’s only been four months since this C30 program started. We’re already a couple of races into the 2011 season and we have not had time to go testing. But overall the start has been epic. Our results at St. Pete the season opener were 4th and 10th respectively. Remember we built the cars, did a shake down, and went racing.
RLT: You do a lot of driver coaching, how did you come about that?
AP: Long story….. Many years ago I went and did the Jim Russell world driver search in the U.K. I won the search which gave me a free season of racing in the Vauxhall Jr. single seater class which at that time supported the British Touring Car Class back then. But it also gave me a job instructing at the Jim Russell Driving School. Jim Russell Racing taught and trained me in the science of driving and teaching it to others. From there I went on and worked for every other race and rally school in England for a whole year which was a lifetime experience. It was a great lesson on here’s how to do it, not just “I’ve won a bunch of races, let me show you how” type of deal. It was… here is the science and art of performance driving and relating what goes on at the track to someone who has never done it before. From there it just blossomed from when I’m not driving a racecar, testing or developing a racecar… I’m at the track coaching people. I also just got my Porsche racing license this year which opens up other opportunities, which is great, I ran my first PCA race at Sebring back in January – it was a blast – we won our class!.
RLT: What makes Aaron tick? Meaning what do you like besides racing… your outside interests?
AP: Racing is definitely #1 in my life. I feel most human when I’m at a race track or have a racing program going on to sink my teeth into over the course of the season. And when I don’t, life does feel a bit empty to be honest. Not a bad empty, but a little piece of you missing when you can’t have a race team to be a part of. But there’s a million things I’m passionate about, heck I’m half Italian with the spirit of a 5yr old – my friends tease me that I fall in love with everything – a good plate of food, a book I’m reading, a new song, etc! Music has been a huge part of my life. I play a lot of guitar and drums. So when I get the chance I’m at a bar playing guitar or at a nightclub listening to music. If I look in my pocket now I bet you dollars to donuts there’s a guitar pick in there…. yep, my good .88 mill pick for my acoustic guitar (Laughter).
I also went to fine arts school… It’s my running joke – I dropped out of art school to become a racing driver. I did have the grades to go into medicine and science – to go get a “good job” as my mom wanted me to. I also studied film and photography and that always interested me and I still am interested in that. I love taking pictures and setting up a shot, it’s fascinating. I read as much as I can, but I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t finished a book in awhile. But I do keep an open set of eyes and I’m interested in world politics… cultures….history. My mother was a History major, so I’ve grow up with an general appreciation of the subject and its relevance on modern times. Also I live in Toronto, Which is literally the most multi-cultural city in the world. It has so many languages, food, different styles, and everything that goes along with that.
There are a lot of things that make me tick…which is good because I treat my racing with such intense seriousness you’d think I was going to war….it really is like that for me – I subscribe to the Ron Dennis theory that “Everything Matters”. There is no such thing as working too hard if it finds you a hundredth of a second. I’m a pain in the ass perfectionist when it comes my craft – just ask my crew! Dont get me wrong once the race starts I’ll squeeze every drop out of the car, situation regardless of what’s going on, brakes failing, flash floods, wheels falling off – whatever, but preparation and details make a HUGE difference in this game. So when away from the track i think it is good to be able to switch off and get wrapped up in guitars and what not…until that is, I get some crazy set up idea and start blowing up Dax and Yogi’s phones! (Dax Raub & Aaron Coalwell – engineers for K-PAX Racing Touring car program)
RLT: What is your favorite state?
AP: The one when I’m putting my racing helmet on… (Laughter). On a serious note…. That’s a tough question. I really do love Toronto where I’m from. I love the state of NY because of Watkins Glen and I love Manhattan. But the more time I spend in Florida, the more I understand the vibe there. Orlando really has become a second home to me. I used to spend a lot of time in California and being back for the Long Beach Grand Prix this weekend I feel it again. I almost moved here in 2000 to Venice Beach to something funky… maybe to go meet Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction.
RLT: You’ve traveled the world, so what is your favorite hole in the wall food establishment?
AP: Oh wow… that’s a tough one. Lately I’ve been eating at WHOLE FOODS because of all the travel and I know I can get a good meal. But there’s so many, but off the top of my head it’s going to be THE WATERING HOLE in Sebring, FL. You know the place because you’ve traveled a lot so you know what I’m talking about…THE WATERING HOLE (which has that 14ft alligator). It closed down for a bit and it just re-opened. But the food is good, the ambience… its’ just so surreal. You know it’s the people, the retired folks, the disco ball, the cheesy band, the families with the kids running everywhere…did i mention the 14ft alligator in the middle of the room?! The whole thing is such an experience.
RLT: Long Beach Grand Prix – Street Circuit with two long straights with some turns thrown into it. Who is your main competition from other car manufactures?
AP: Realistically I would say Honda. It’s a very well developed car and they have won a lot of championships with that platform over in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge in the Grand-Am Series. They have some really top pro drivers in those cars and they weigh 100lbs less then us right now and have more HP then we produce. They have many advantages over us right now. And when it was announced that KPAX Racing was building the cars for this series, the series did a lot to tie our hands (weight and low turbo pressure) so we would not dominate. But I think SCCA will start changing the rules a bit and give us a few more performance upgrades. I don’t feel anybody will give us a big problem. I’m sure the series will give and take for everybody to make it even for all… I have a lot of faith in TC Klein and Ken Brown (World Challenge Series rules makers). They are both very smart guys and I’m sure they will even things out to make a equal playing field. I’m sure KPAX Racing will get this car up to speed and be a world-beater. My first impression with the C30 was, “Oh ya, we can work with this, it will be competitive”
RLT: Final words?
AP: We are going to be winning races this season – watch this space! Watch us on VERUS TV and look for us when we come to town.
For more information on Aaron Povoledo, you can find him at: www.povoledo.com